Matt Johnson: U.S. wasted countless opportunities in Syria


A week ago, Syrian rebels seized a major military installation in Aleppo and ended a month-long siege of the city. Afterward, citizens of east Aleppo rushed into the streets to celebrate, rebels captured a large stockpile of weapons and equipment stored at the academy, and supply convoys resumed their deliveries. Before Bashar al-Assad’s forces were routed, 300,000 Syrians had been isolated from the rest of the country at gunpoint — they faced starvation, a lack of medical resources and the daily horror of Russian and regime bombings.

As the British writer (and associate director of the Henry Jackson Society) Douglas Murray frequently observes, our behavior is driven by events — not ideas and arguments. It didn’t matter how often those of us on the pro-intervention side worried out loud about the possibility that jihadists would take advantage of the chaos in Syria and establish a base there (from which they would be able to launch attacks against other countries in the region, such as Iraq). Americans couldn’t be roused into action until an army of genocidal theocrats captured huge swaths of territory in two major Middle Eastern states. And even then, there was no sense of urgency until these sadistic murderers started beheading journalists and aid workers (James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Alan Henning, David Haines, etc.) on YouTube, crucifying Christians and trying to eradicate ethnic and religious minorities such as the Yazidis.

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